105

The Way I See It

Whether you’re talking hockey, business or anything else in life, I’ve always put a lot more faith in people who tend to under-promise and over-deliver than those with a track record of doing the opposite. I suppose you can put that approach in the “talk is cheap” category.

In that regard, the Edmonton Oilers have been doing it so wrong for so long in so many areas, it’s no wonder their fan base, one that has been unquestionably loyal, is eroding as year upon year of failure pile up. Nothing will ever change that as much as winning will. Again, talk is cheap, but until they get to that point, being straight with the people who pay the tab is a start.

The media availability CEO Bob Nicholson had last Monday seemed like as good a place as any to start. Nicholson addressed that directly in one of his answers, saying that the team was going to be more transparent, more upfront about things. Instead of starting down that welcome road later in the week addressing the status of the knee injury to Connor McDavid, only the best player on the planet, the Oilers went the other way and issued one of the lamest, say-nothing updates ever delivered.

It was, to say the least, a disappointing juxtaposition — even allowing for the fact no team shares every detail about hockey ops or injuries to players. That doesn’t happen. In this case, though, with the Oilers out of the playoffs, the Oilers could have and should have played it straight. The season is over. It’s not like they’d be supplying a potential post-season opponent with any intel — a tear of the posterior-cruciate ligament — about their franchise player. It was an opportunity lost to deliver on what Nicholson has talked about earlier in the week.

TALK IS CHEAP

“We have to give the fans a plan and we have to make sure the fans understand the plan,” he said. “It starts right away, as soon as the general manager is in place. We have to make sure that we’re getting that out in front of everyone. The one thing I can tell you is we’re going to be a much more open organization in terms of communication in all different ways. We’ve got to clarify what that is but we want the fans to feel more part of day-to-day operations of OEG in all areas, and that includes hockey.”

That was followed on Friday by a news release:

CONNOR MCDAVID INJURY UPDATE

(Edmonton, AB) – Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid was injured during a game on April 6th in Calgary.

The Edmonton Oilers medical staff, in collaboration with top orthopedic specialists, have determined a rehabilitation protocol for Connor which will begin immediately. 

It wasn’t until reporters started digging around that we found out about the tear to the PCL. Again, with the season over, there was no chance of providing any useable information to other teams by providing a meaningful update about the injury. There was a chance, however, to provide fans the transparency Nicholson was promising just days earlier. No cigar. They blew it.

I don’t think that’s nit-picking, but even if it is, the Oilers have brought a higher level of scrutiny on themselves. Nicholson is asking fans to believe that he is willing to move heaven and earth to find a replacement for fired GM Peter Chiarelli. He’s asking fans to believe interim GM Keith Gretzky is in the running for the job, but, in the name of doing away with less-than-best-practices employed by the team in the past, is nothing more than a candidate. He’s asking fans to believe a full assessment of hockey ops will be done once a new GM is in place.

Maybe all of that’s true. Maybe you believe him. I have my doubts. The way I see it, when you aren’t willing to deliver the truth about the small stuff — even if it’s just about omitting information, like the PCL tear in McDavid’s knee — you can’t be trusted to play it straight with the big stuff. Talk is always cheap, and it’s especially de-valued around here. We were told that’s going to change. Let’s see it.

WHILE I’M AT IT

As of writing this (9:45 a.m.), Tiger Woods is in contention at The Masters. While I have no delusions Woods will ever return to the dominant form we saw from him a dozen years ago, it’s obvious he’s overcome his physical (back) and personal issues to the point where he’s capable of contending most Sundays.

Having Woods, the driving force behind increased sponsorship and bigger purse during his prime years, on the leaderboard surrounded by the latest wave of great, young players is good for the game. I don’t know if he’ll win today, but having Woods in the hunt at the first major of the golf season is a jolt for the sport.

Previously by Robin Brownlee

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    And as for Bob’s version of transparency and all the plan and the sear and talking to people about who the best people are for the GM job…sorry but those statements ring pretty hollow when they say they havent really done anything, it’s like cute little buzz words to say to the fans so we and the media covering the Oilers think there is real progress going on…and there isnt…I dont have much faith in what Bob say’s.

    • Oscar

      Just imagine what could have been, yes …

      Maroon … Hart Trophy winner … German Dude
      Hart Trophy winner … Hyphen … Tkachuk
      chiasson … Calder Trophy winner … Ebs14
      Khaira … Gags… Caggs

      Klef/Benning
      Sekera/Nurse
      Gravel/Gryba

      Some other plug/Koskinen

      • Gravis82

        I dont know why people are trashing you lol. We would be in the playoffs with this roster. Oiler fans deserve this team. Hmmm, lets seee…Maroon, McDavid, Dra on line 1. Hall, nuge, Eberle on line 2. What else. How about Tkachuk and debrincat on line 3 with some big bruising center we find in free agency. Like seriously, there is no getting that back. It was RIGHT THERE for the taking. Gross.

      • Boba The Fett

        Several issues, Hall would not have been a Hart Trophy Winner had he stayed here, and he himself admitted that it took him going to Jersey to realize he had to have a dialogue with the coaches to succeed. Plus he cannot stay healthy.

        29 other teams in the NHL would have picked Puljujarvi over Tkachuk, Brian Burke even admitted that Calgary would have.

        Lots of teams passed on Debrincat, not just the Oilers.

        Gagner isnt here if we dont trade Ebs so that doesnt work

        What Calder trophy winner are you talking about?

        Benning as a 1RD is a horrible idea.

        Gravel/Gryba is a horrid 3rd pair, and the exact type of players everybody wants out of here.

        QUIT using hind sight to analyze what players we could have had (Tkachuk, Debrincat, Ebs, etc) if Ebs was here at 6M people would be fuming at his 35 pts.

        Hindsight is a horrible way to judge talent, anyone can be an all star GM if they had that benefit.

        • Gravis82

          Hall would not have won the Hart, yes, but who cares.We would have had a player good enough to win the hart trophy playing on the second line destroying other teams 2nd lines. That is argubaly more valuable, especially when you have McDavid beating any other teams 1st line. No he would not have won the Hart, but that is not the point. Its not the trophy, its the fact we gave away a player capable of winning one for nothing.

        • Well said Boba, any fan of the Oilers shouldn’t be pissed at management for Eberle moving, he was payed as a leader on this club and quit. I question the time we moved him for value reason but he had checked out.

  • Oilers_1978

    Oilers top management won’t change a bit under katz ownership.

    It’s hard to believe nickolson will be able to bring any solid changes this time as he has become one of lazy old boys too.

    Even if a new outsider GM is hired katz will keep meddling with decision making and won’t allow to clean house.

    • polarcap

      Get real. The oilers wouldn’t be in Edmonton. of it wasn’t for Katz. Rodgers center wouldn’t be built. Katz built a major corporation and a major player in the development of Edmonton. He can’t micromanage the oilers. If he was running the oilers, the oilers would be winning. The OBC are hall of famers. They have given more to Edmonton than they will ever get back. K Lowe lives in Edmonton. He could have just as easily gone to Nashville like Ryan Smyth. If Katz decides to meddle, things will change.

  • Leaking5w-30

    At this point I feel sorry for bloggers and reporters who have to cover oilers media events/ tweets. Non information, misinformation, ignorant comments. At least as a fan I can just ignore most of this.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    We all know teams like to keep injuries a secret sometimes during the season, even more so near the end of the season with the playoffs on the horizon and of course in the playoffs, McDavid injury update was a little bizarre, because the Oilers not really saying what happened is just going to send media digging and fans digging to see what the scoop is, which could have easily be avoided by saying what it was, I mean the season is over so why hide the info?

    Luci the Oilers never really said what was going on and we can speculate about it being a number of things, until the Oilers and Lucic say what it is, the rumor mill will be in gear, again could be avoided by just saying what it is…The Oilers do some strange things when it comes to their media releases